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Machiskinic family lawyer blasts 'botched' investigation
Published Friday, March 31, 2017 1:03PM CST
Last Updated Friday, March 31, 2017 4:35PM CST
Regina’s police chief says the investigation into the death of a woman found at the bottom of a laundry chute at a downtown hotel wasn’t perfect.
Evan Bray admits mistakes were made in the investigation, but says he’s confident in the police force’s findings.
Bray’s comments come the day after a coroner’s jury ruled the cause of Nadine Machiskinic’s death was undetermined.
Machiskinic was found unresponsive at the bottom of a laundry chute at the Delta Hotel in January 2015, and was later pronounced dead in hospital.
Machiskinic’s family has questioned how she fit through the opening of the laundry chute, which was only 53 centimetres wide, and why it took police 60 hours to launch an investigation.
Bray says that from the start of the investigation, police faced challenges because paramedics didn't believe police needed to be involved.
He says other hurdles included lost evidence and delayed toxicology reports. Investigators were also unable to locate two men captured on hotel surveillance video who were considered people of interest.
Regina Lawyer Tony Merchant is representing the Machiskinic family in a lawsuit against the Delta Hotel, which claims the hotel bears some responsibility for her death.
Merchant told CTV News he’s never seen an investigation as "botched" as the probe into Machiskinic’s death.
“What the police did was horrible. If that had been a white woman working at SaskPower, they would have been all over the investigation,” Merchant said.
“They would have concluded it was probably a murder. They would have known who the two men were. They would have got the tapes. They would have been talking to the staff. This was an Indian woman, reluctantly we’re going to look into it, and the result is no result.”
Merchant says there’s a sense that the case would have been handled differently if the woman who died was of another race.
“The police botched the inquiry; the coroner’s office made huge mistakes that would constitute negligence,” Merchant said.
“The whole takeaway gives you a bad feeling about Saskatchewan and race issues and the way our attitudes form when somebody gets killed in these kinds of circumstances and they’re First Nations.”
Bray doesn't believe the investigators in the case were biased, and says the public should have confidence in the Regina Police Service.
"There are some things that we absolutely need to tighten up so that it doesn't happen again," Bray said.
"But I don't believe it changes the outcome, which in this case, our investigation led us to believe that there was nobody else responsible for Nadine's death. We believed that death to be accidental."
Merchant says the hotel ought to admit it made mistakes and offer compensation to Machiskinic’s family.
Delta Hotels has declined to comment on the inquest.
With files from CTV Regina’s Cally Stephanow